Recognising English accents in the community: Omani students' accent preferences and perceptions of nativeness
Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Taylor & Francis
182 - 197
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Previous research has revealed that although EFL students may claim to prefer British/US accents they often have difficulty identifying them, especially when such accents may differ from 'standard' accents presented in ELT materials. In the Gulf, English is widely used as a lingua franca or as a second language by the large expatriate workforce. Particular accents in English characteristic for L1 speakers of Arabic or South Asian languages are commonly heard in the education and service sectors. This study investigates whether Omani university students are able to distinguish between native English speaker (NES) and non-native English speaker NNES EFL teachers' accents commonly heard in their educational context and their evaluations of these accents as pedagogical models. Specifically, the study seeks to ascertain whether a relationship exists between students' assumptions regarding the NES status of an EFL teacher and their evaluations of the teacher's accent as a suitable model for pronunciation. Results show that, in most cases, a moderate to strong correlation exists between these two variables, particularly among students who claim that having a NES teacher is desirable for the purpose of improving pronunciation.